Ageing and Society

Research Article

Towards a Theory of Dementia Care: Personhood and Well-being

Tom Kitwood and Kathleen Bredin p1


Some foundations are laid for a social-psychological theory of dementia care. Central to this is a conceptualisation of personhood, in which both subjectivity and intersubjectivity are fully recognised. Evidence is brought forward concerning relative well-being even in those who are, from a cognitive standpoint, severely demented. In the light of this it is argued that the key psychological task in dementia care is that of keeping the sufferer's personhood in being. This requires us to see personhood in social rather than individual terms.


p1 Bradford Dementia Research Group, University of Bradford, England.